Comic-Con Canceled, to Return in 2021

In a widely expected move, organizers of the San Diego Comic Convention, or Comic-Con International, announced that this year’s event has been canceled — for the first time in the pop culture event’s 50-year history.

According to an April 17 press release, “there will be no Comic-Con in 2020. The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.”

This year’s San Diego Comic-Con International was scheduled for  July 23-26 at the San Diego Convention Center. The event is one of the biggest fan shows in the world and draws more than 130,000 attendees to San Diego each summer.

While the event started in the 1970s as a traditional comic book convention, in the past 20 years the show has become a major hotbed of Hollywood marketing, giving studios an active fanbase to showcase new movies and TV shows. Recent years have seen an increasing emphasis on home entertainment, particularly streaming services.

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Organizers said in the press release that “they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer,” but “continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.”

Earlier in the week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined steps to get the state up and running again, although he warned it would be a slow go.

He said “the prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine. … Large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers altogether across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations.”

A short time after the governor’s remarks, organizers of the annual San Diego County Fair, which was scheduled to begin its month-long run in early June, said the fair would not be held. The fair attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.

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Comic-Con organizers April 17 further announced that plans for a Comic-Con Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park also have been impacted. Renovations to the park’s historic Federal Building, the museum’s future home, are being “rephased,” although organizers insist they “will not scale back the experience to be offered to visitors upon the museum’s grand opening. They anticipate releasing building plans illustrating the Museum’s transformation and sharing more information about those efforts in the coming months.”

The Comic-Con exhibit floor in July 2019.

Comic-Con organizers also announced that individuals who purchased badges for Comic-Con 2020 will have the option to request a refund or transfer their badges to Comic-Con 2021. All 2020 badge holders will receive an email within the next week with instructions on how to request a refund. Exhibitors for Comic-Con 2020 also will have the option to request a refund or transfer their payments to Comic-Con 2021 and will also receive an email within the next week with instructions on how to process their request.

In the next few days onPeak, Comic-Con’s official hotel affiliate, will be canceling all hotel reservations and refunding all deposits made through them.

“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the organization. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”

In March, Comic-Con International canceled their WonderCon Anaheim event, which was to have been held April 10-12, 2020. WonderCon will return to the Anaheim Convention Center March 26-28, 2021.

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